NFL draft rumors: Raiders could trade up for Tua Tagovailoa if QB falls


The Raiders enter the 2020 NFL Draft with huge needs at wide receiver and cornerback. They also need to add a piece on the defensive line.

In short, quarterback is not a need that tops the list. Derek Carr will be the starter entering the season and Marcus Mariota will push him and be there to take over should Carr falter. The Raiders could look to draft a guy like Jalen Hurts on Day 2, but they are not expected to be a player for the likes of Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa or Jordan Love.

However, should Tagovailoa start to slide in the draft, the Raiders reportedly could "sniff up" for trade scenarios, The Athletic' Ben Standing reported, citing a "connected source."

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Tagovailoa was seen as the presumptive No. 1 pick entering the college football season. But the meteoric rise of LSU's Joe Burrow and the dislocated hip Tagovailoa suffered in November have caused him to drop. Most draft experts still expect the left-handed gunslinger to be off the board by the No. 6 overall pick (Los Angeles Chargers), but there's a world in which Tagovailoa drops. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, teams have not been able to have their own medical staff evaluate Tagovailoa's hip.

If the Dolphins draft Herbert, as is expected, and the Chargers pass on Tagovailoa, the Alabama product could begin a precipitous slide. The Carolina Panthers (Teddy Bridgewater), Arizona Cardinals (Kyler Murray), Jacksonville Jaguars (Gardner Minshew), Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield) and New York Jets (Sam Darnold) all have their starting quarterbacks. The Jaguars seem like the likeliest landing spot, but all reports indicate they want to see what they have with Minshew.

Teams like the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers certainly will look to move up if Tagovailoa slides, but the Raiders -- with two first-round picks and three third-round selections -- are in a great spot to trade up and grab a possible franchise quarterback with Drew Brees upside. 

Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have been extremely complimentary of Carr and gave Mariota a lucrative contract that suggests they believe he could be the right guy to lead the Silver and Black. Mayock said the Raiders plan to "rebuild" Mariota and give him the time and support to become the best version of himself.

All that points to a team with two quarterbacks on the roster who could be the franchise guy. With other holes to fill, would it be worth it for the Raiders to sell draft capital for Tagovailoa?

The short answer is probably not. Carr and Mariota give Gruden and Mayock the luxury of building up the rest of the roster while having two capable signal-callers on the team. Tagovailoa has enticing, sky-high potential, but he also comes with injury red flags and gambling and missing on a quarterback in the top 10 can set a franchise rebuild back years.

[RELATED: Mayock should follow his gut, make Lamb a Raider]

If Tagovailoa does slide, I expect the Raiders to discuss and be intrigued by the possibility of solving their quarterback question. But it's more prudent for them to stand pat, add a dynamic receiver and a lockdown corner and go from there.

Enter 2020 with two quarterbacks who have shown they can win at the NFL and see if either Carr or Mariota is the guy. If not, the Raiders can look to address the quarterback position starting in 2021.

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